Vanderbilt-Louisville quotes

Dec. 3, 2011

Recap | Box Score | AP Photos media_icon_photogallery.gif

Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

(Opening statement)
“It was a great college basketball game. They have a great environment and a great facility. Two teams that were really getting after each other. Neither one of them backed up a step. They just made one more play than we did. They are a really good team and I really admire what he (Rick Pitino) has done with them. They are very short-handed. They have been beaten with injuries and, believe me, I know because so have we. When you start getting into that time when you can’t practice, it becomes a very difficult thing for your basketball team to keep getting better. I know they’ve been going through it and so have we. I have no complaints. We could have made a few less turnovers and a few more free throws. Both teams put forth a great effort and we’re disappointed not to have won because we obviously thought we could have.”

(On Louisville’s pressure defense)
“Their pressure is entirely different than Cleveland State. They like to extend it down the floor a little bit. Their half-court defense is a lot different and they keep you guessing because they show zone and fan out and go man. Then they can show man and go back into their zone. They just keep you guessing and it’s confusing. I liked our plan. I liked our attack. I know they’re not used to giving up many 3s and, for John Jenkins to go 5-for-11 from 3, we obviously were getting some good shots for him. He needed a few more because he was outstanding tonight. We modified our attack a little bit, and we felt like we could keep them guessing a little bit because that is one of the great things they do. They keep you guessing. So we wanted to create some confusion for them and I thought we were able to, that’s why we were able to make 10 3-point baskets. Without Festus (Ezeli), we have to make some 3s to win a game like this.”

(On disrupting Peyton Siva and the Louisville offense)
“It’s my fault. We misplayed the last play. We knew what they were going to do and we should’ve played that differently. That’s my one regret of the game. We should’ve adjusted our defense a little bit more. We could’ve done a little bit more to defend that play better. He is a great penetrator. He’s not making shots right now. After the first couple of times he got to the rim on us, we really wanted to keep him away from the goal. We started going underneath his ball screens and trying to keep him outside the perimeter and he wasn’t as effective. Obviously, he made a great play there at the end.”

(On offensive rebounding)
“We got some offensive rebounds, but they did a better job on the offensive boards than we did. I think we only got eight, so quite honestly I’m not that impressed.”

(On Josh Henderson’s injury)
“It was a cumulative thing; just a stress fracture over time. It just shortened us a little bit. We’ve got other guys down there we can play. This was not a good game for some of my freshmen because they are still wet behind the ears. This environment is pretty intimidating.”

Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino

(Opening Statement)
“We didn’t play great offense, but that was due to their terrific defense. This team – since 1987, never have I had this much fun coaching the last two years. This team epitomizes everything you want in a team in terms of rooting for each other and not giving up. Right now, because of all of our injuries, we’re not a very cohesive offensive basketball team, but we are playing incredible defense and playing with incredible effort each night out. We beat a very good team tonight, a team that is going to go far this year. They make take some early losses because of their injuries, but they are tough to defend.

“Underneath out of bounds plays they remind me of Butler two years ago in terms of the types of players they have. They’re going to get their big fellow back. That will help them immensely. They are going to be an amazing ball club. This was a tough environment to come in and play, and they stood tooth and nail with us. We had a great shot at the end of regulation, and I tried to tell Chane (Behanan) that it’s not all about offense. It’s about defense. I wasn’t worried about that shot and Peyton (Siva) made a big play. Kyle (Kuric) didn’t want to shoot that ball, but I yelled, ‘Shoot it Kyle.’ I’ll live with it if we miss it from Kyle’s corner. He had to shoot that shot. It was contested, it was behind the backboard. It was a difficult shot, but that’s a shot he makes in his sleep. We did a great job down the stretch making free throws. We did a lot of things down the stretch to win this game, but we beat a very good ball club in there.”

(On whether he needs Peyton Siva to attack the rim more)
“Peyton’s problem is he is trying to be something he is not. And what I tried to tell him is that, ‘Peyton look, there is no big deal about the 3-point shot.’ I said, ‘You are a good shooter right now. Someday you will be a great shooter because you have great technique.’ I asked him, ‘Do you know who Maurice Cheeks is?’ He said, ‘Yes, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.’ I said, ‘No, he is going into the hall of fame as arguably one of the best point guards of all time. He is my favorite point guard outside of Magic Johnson. I said I have seen them all. This guy runs the team. He took one three like every three games. And that’s not what you have to be to be a great point guard. Because he is a great athlete, he drives, he passes, he plays great defense. But somebody says you have to shoot the three, somebody who obviously doesn’t know who Maurice Cheeks is either.’ That’s what I’m trying to get him to be like, Maurice. He’s got blinding speed and is a terrific basketball player.

“He’s a little rusty, but he makes great plays. I told him we allow everybody to shoot threes, even Gorgui, but it has to be at the end of the shot clock, not the beginning. And that is what a great point guard will do – make big plays down at the end. He’s still not in great shape and neither is the team because of what we have been through, but we continue to win. And you want to learn your lessons when you win.”

(On the shot at the end of the game being a designed play)
“It’s our power play. We go with it with six seconds left on the clock.”

(On Kyle Kuric’s shot at the end)
“We ran two plays. I told him to shoot the ball in corner behind the backboard because that is his shot. The next time he ball-faked. In the time out, I told him they are going to expect you in the corner. I told Peyton (Siva) to come off the screen and throw a flip pass. Kyle (Kuric) got his defender up in the air and made a great play and so did Peyton.”

(On Kyle Kuric playing a lot of minutes)
“We have no back up for him. We will as soon as Rock (Rakeem Buckles) gets healthy. We have to have Kyle (Kuric) in the game because he is very smart and knows what to do. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes even though he did early. I thought Chane (Behanan) had a great shot at the end of regulation and, defensively, he gets a little lost in what we are trying to do. He told me down the stretch not to take him out because ‘I’m going to get every rebound.’ I told him I wasn’t even thinking about taking him out and to get every rebound. He made two big free throws for us.”

(On winning close games)
“We’ve been winning close games for the past two years, so I don’t think we have to learn because we learned last year. We only lost two players, so I think we learned how to win. It’s a treat to coach this team, because you see great comebacks. There are times when you think you they are dead, and then you just look up and we win the game. We beat a very good time tonight. They were up 11 against Xavier and were playing great basketball. They put some of their subs in and it went the other way. I think when Vandy gets healthy, they will go to a Final Four. I really believe that because when you have that many seniors, and you have that size and you can shoot it, they can be really tough to guard. They are so difficult to guard in every phase of the game. When they get healthy and get their big guy back, they are going to be a tremendous team.”

(On guarding John Jenkins)
“We wanted to wear them out physically the whole night. We made some big mistakes in beginning by running and trapping. When you have shooters in the game, you want to wear them out, so they don’t have their legs in the end of the game. We know we are going to improve offensively as soon as we get Rock (Rakeem Buckles) back. He is going to play some minutes the next game, so we know we are going to get a lot better offensively.”

(On getting players back)
“It’s a catch 22, the way we play defense with all of our switching, pressing, running and jumping. It slows the game down rather than speed it up. We can speed it up by getting in a white press, with a man on the ball and trap right away and that makes them speed up. But we don’t want that because we don’t have that much of a bench right now. So when we get healthy, we will speed it up a little bit.”

(On Russ Smith)
“He gave me a nervous breakdown. You like to have some sort of pulse of knowing what your players are going to do, but with him, I have no pulse on what he is going to do. I have no idea what he is going to do, but I love coaching him because he is such a great kid. You need a player like that who is going to break you down. He is a terrific basketball player. Chris (Smith) was hurt at the end and we needed Russ. I thought we made so many big time plays, even with the shot with Chane (Behanan), when he missed, was a big time pass.”